After making her successful Edinburgh Festival Fringe debut former Coronation Street/Emmerdale actress Natasha Rea smashed down the barrier of silence around mental health with a captivating, one-woman show, based on her critically acclaimed memoir, Me, Myself and Bipolar Brenda. Natasha’s captivating performance earned it four and five-star reviews, solidifying its place as an exceptional piece of theatre.
The recognition continued for Natasha as ‘A Night with Me, Myself & Bipolar Brenda’ was shortlisted for the prestigious Neurodiverse Exceptional Theatre Fringe award. This acknowledgement further highlights Natasha’s ability to create impactful and thought-provoking work.
Always feeling ‘different’, it came as a relief when, after years of misdiagnosis and a suicide attempt, Natasha was finally told, shortly after the birth of her son, that she was suffering from bipolar disorder. Determined to take control of her misunderstood mental illness, the single mum embarked on a hard-fought struggle to ‘turn madness into magic’ and ‘becoming better’ for her boy, while constantly battling for better provision within the mental health system. A book based on her scrupulously kept journals became an Amazon bestseller and then a one-woman play (in association with Bipolar UK), which received standing ovations at its sold-out premiere at the Hope Mill Theatre, Manchester. Hilarious and heartbreaking, told with courage, no-holds-barred honesty and raw Mancunian humour, it is the story of what it’s really like to live with a serious mental illness within the UK’s mental health system.
An Ambassador for Bipolar UK, Natasha is passionate about changing the way bipolar is perceived in society. She initiated the #SpeakOutLikeBrenda campaign for Mental Health Awareness Week 2020, and teaches and co-facilitates the Living With Bipolar course at Greater Manchester Mental Health Trust. She hopes to use her unique lived experience to spread the word further, as she continues to write and develop scripts. “I’ve been battling my whole life with this illness - and I continue to do so,” she says. “But I’m using it to create, to live better, and to take others along with me.”
As Natasha takes her show to London, audiences can expect to be enthralled by her talent, passion, and unique perspective. With her ability to bring characters to life and tell compelling stories, Natasha continues to make her mark in the creative industry, leaving a lasting impression on all who have the pleasure of experiencing her work.